Building A Nonprofit Leadership Team That Works


As a nonprofit CEO, you’re responsible for a lot. Planning events, organizing fundraisers, managing volunteers, and leading donation campaigns that’s culpable for enabling your nonprofit to complete its mission.

On top of all that, depending on the size of your nonprofit, you’re responsible for assembling a leadership team. And, quite frankly, this could be the most difficult task of all.

The reason is, those with the qualifications to constitute their position on a leadership team bring a wealth of experience, ideas, talent, and sometimes a little bit of an ego to the table as well. Much like the head coach or manager of a professional sports team, your job when assembling and managing these teams becomes less about teaching and directing, and become more centered on ensuring the group is working cohesively.

The bottom line is, a great team, regardless of who’s on it, is only as good as its moving parts. And not only that, how well those moving parts are working unison with one another. Here are a few tips to help you the next time you’re building a leadership team.

  1. Facilitate one-on-one relationships first

    It’s important in any relationship is built on the foundation of mutual respect. However, it’s important that every member of your leadership team has unlimited access you and your time. While this might seem counter intuitive, if you do not understand the minutia of what they’re feeling on a day-to-day basis, it will be difficult for you to relate.

    In a one-on-one ask your different leaders what frustrates them, what they might need to do their job better, and what makes that person tick. Their answers might surprise you, and it’s a great way to gain insight into how to get more out of that person.

  2. Create collaborative goals

    Forcing collaboration isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. By designing a project that requires a mutual dependency on one another, you’re ensuring your team members are interacting and collaborating to achieve a common goal. Aside from the every day goal of accomplishing your nonprofit’s mission, ensuring your departments are collaborating, is ensuring your leaders are collaborating.

  3. Workout issues between meetings

    This might sound obvious, but if there’s a rift in your leadership core, there’s an inherent rift in your entire organization. This causes distractions, lulls productivity, and it will detract from the effectiveness of your overall leadership team.

    Settling any disputes, or putting any problems to rest outside of meeting time ensures your regularly scheduled manager’s meeting is time spent pushing your organization further, and is not being used to bridge mending hour. Your meeting should signify solidarity between the leaders.

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